Alternative | Rock
With my first review of October 2020, I could’ve went with one of a few other projects which I thought to be very sub-par. But Instead, I decided that it would be better to go with an album that I had a genuine interest in. In this case, that album is none other than the brand new self-titled album from alternative rock artist Shamir.
Shamir is the musical project of Shamir Bailey, a non-binary person (who is allegedly comfortable using his male pronouns) who grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada, and raised as a Muslim. However, he describes himself as “more spiritual than religious” which reflects in his musical aesthetic, and this new album.
Despite this being Shamir’s self-titled project, it is not his first. In-fact, it is not even his first album release this year. With the release of Cataclysm earlier this year, Shamir is actually the artists second album this year, despite only being the very first that I’ve discovered from the artist.
My discovery of Shamir was a happy accident of sorts, as I found a track (which features on this self-titled album) through one of the playlists I happened to be browsing through. But judging from the self-titled nature of this album, my hopes were high that this would serve as a definitive moment for the artist, and possibly the best kind of gateway album I could find.
I was going into this project with an entirely unique experience in mind. And while Shamir does feel quite unique when compared to some of the other albums I’ve reviewed recently, I was also surprised by how accessible the sound of this album was too.
In the case of genres, Shamir has been described as an artist who vouches for a fundamentally rock-inspired sound. And while this is true to a degree, there is definitely more to be said about this album. I enjoyed the kind of D.I.Y aesthetic that this album had going for it, along with Shamir’s signature vocals, which gave a similar impression to the likes of Kate Bush, or Debbie Harry. This powerfully effeminate vocal style manages to mix incredibly well with the fuzzy and raw instrumentation.
And while things stay relatively accessible for the early/mid parts of the album, Shamir ventures into a bit more experimentation towards the very end, with the albums final track “In This Hole” being more resemblant of something you’d hear from Moses Sumney’s Græ, but also serves as a clear highlight on the album for me.
And from the biggest praise to the most glaring issue on Shamir, it would honestly be the implementation of the interludes that are scattered across this record. I have spoken before about interludes serving little to no purpose on an album, and unfortunately, all these interludes do is make you feel “close to the action” in the most miniscule way. If these interludes were instead tacked on to the start or finish of other tracks, I honestly would’ve most likely bumped my score of this album up by 1. But these very brief sound-clips deceive how brief the project truly is, instead making it seem like there is more to be heard on here.
Other than that, there were only a few other tunes that, while still enjoyable, felt like something I might’ve heard before.
Nevertheless, Shamir definitely succeeded in helping me on my way to becoming a big fan of this ver independent artist, and was most certainly an enjoyable experience at its best moments.
Favourite Tracks: On My Own | Other Side | In This Hole
Least Favourite Track: There We Go